No dance number, no taped montage, no problem. Seth Meyers went for a minimalist approach in opening the 66th annual Emmy Awards, which is to say, a straight monologue, filled with jokes designed for people in the room and those who love TV. In that respect, the insider-ish material mirrored what’s often delivered at the outset of the Oscars — or even the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner, where Meyers has performed. In a way, the idea of making the open a straight comedy routine not only played to Meyers’ strengths, but also reflected a sense that TV has indeed grown up.
Meyers hit all the usual targets that arise in industry circles, from the late-August timing of the awards this year (generally a dead period in TV terms) to controversy surrounding the actual voting. As such, he joked about comedies that make you laugh, and those that “made you cry, because they were dramas submitted as comedies.”
The host also weighed in on the limited series that regularly change over their casts, citing the wisdom of that compared to letting a series become a huge hit, like “The Big Bang Theory,” when the actors can hold up the network and studio for huge raises. “Before you know it, you’re paying Sheldon $1 million an episode,” he quipped, referring to “Big Bang” star Jim Parsons, who smiled (as he should, come to think of it).
Of course, hosts usually receive too much attention at award shows, and their contributions are invariably relatively modest over the course of an evening. But NBC’s latest maneuver to showcase one of its latenight hosts — at an hour where you don’t have to fight off sleep to watch him — will have paid off handsomely if Meyers manages to maintain the breezy charm he established in the monologue.